Found: Smart Fit by Lihit Lab at National Book Store

I’m really a sucker for pouches, organizers, and anything Japanese. Combine all three, and I just can’t stop buying them.
The Smart Fit series by Lihit Lab is something I’ve been seeing a lot at wastelands and stationery stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Now you can find them at National Bookstore.
The collection includes a carrying pocket for travel, which has six pockets to put your passports, tickets, passes, credit cards, and maps.
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
The pen case can be used as pencil or tool case, pen stand and memo holder.

Smart Fit by Lihit LabSmart Fit by Lihit Lab

The mobile pouch is a 80mmx140mm case where smartphones, digital cameras, notepads and pens can be carried compactly.

Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

The A4 and A5 clutch bags are designed to carry laptops and other school and office supplies, and can be used with the shoulder belts available in 32mm and 38mm width.

Smart Fit by Lihit LabSmart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

The Smart Fit bags and pouches are made with durable and water-resistant Condura fabric, a global brand known for its ultra-lightweight high tenacity nylon and polyester make.

Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

Find them at National Book Store.

Danish lifestyle brand HAY now in the Philippines

“Copenhagen is the new Milan.”
That’s what Joseph Tay kept hearing when he was shopping around for a new home and furniture brand to bring to Manila.
Joseph, his wife Stenie Coyuito and their business partner Dana Uy, co-own Casa Bella Home and Living, which sells high-end and mid-range furniture from Europe. Among the brands they handle are Moroso and Furninova.

As Joseph tells it, he and Stenie asked furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue about brands they could possibly bring to the Philippines. Cobonpue told them about a brand from Denmark being sold at Lyndon Neri’s lifestyle store Design Republic in Shanghai.
The brand was HAY, established in 2002 as a collaboration between Troels Holch Povlsen, founder of Bestseller, and the furniture designer Rolf Hay.

Design Shanghai Mar 2015 (21)
HAY at Casa Bella
HAY at Casa Bella

“HAY began as a chair company,” said Dana. “The most popular one is About a Chair, which was designed by Hee Welling.”
About a Chair can be ordered in different finishes, fabrics and colors. Custom orders take two to three months.

About a Chair
About a Chair

Little Nobody Chair, which is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, also caught my eye. Dana explains it was originally created for use in a prison so no screws or wood was used.


HAY is known for nurturing young design talents and encouraging original designs and collaborating with established and new designers. The Copenhague Collection of tables and chairs was created in cooperation with Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and is used for the University Copenhagen.


Sebastian Wrong was given a complete sub-brand called Wrong for Hay, which was presented on the London Design Festival in 2013.

HAY also has couches, tables, shelves, carpets and other pieces for the home.
Aside from furniture retail, HAY is a mid-range brand that is into accessories and contract, meaning it supplies furniture for restaurants, hotels and offices. The designs are simple, functional and refined.

HAY at Casa Bella

The look is very modern. If you are furnishing an office or restaurant and want it to look young and modern yet cozy, you should consider HAY. A bonus is that their sales manager, an Italian named Lorenzo Turchi, loves the Philippines and knows where the best Italian restaurants are.

HAY at Casa Bella

Rolf’s wife Mette Hay introduced HAY accessories in 2006. The accessories include rugs, cushions, quilts, bedcovers, hangers, notebooks, pens, tote bags and many others.

HAY at Casa Bella

The prices are affordable considering the design and workmanship involved. The chairs start at Php 14,000. The couches are priced at over Php 200,000.
The accessories are a more affordable way of trying out the brand. I love the scissors, feather pens and the black and white hangers.
HAY accessories will also be available later this year at Univers in Rockwell.

HAY at Casa Bella

The HAY showroom is at Casa Bella Home and Living, Lobby, AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Avenue corner Garnet Rose, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
For more information, call (02) 470-6250 or 470-1089.

What’s in my bag? Life-changing shopping via #SmartLife

I change bags very often—sometimes once a week, sometimes everyday.
It depends on where I’m going, who I’m meeting, what I’m doing, or what I’m wearing.
Today I’m using an Isaac Mizrahi clear tote ordered from Amazon (but you can also find it at Estancia Mall). I lovett. One side is black and the other side is clear, so the guards don’t have to poke inside my bag when I enter the mall.

What's in my bag

What’s inside my bag?

what's in my bag

1) Filofax wallet (because old school is cool)
2) Clear pouch of little things (Isaac Mizrahi; it came with the bag)
3) Hartmann wallet (gift from Hartmann, thank you!)
4) Muji pen case
5) Chaka tissue case from Japan
6) Can’t leave with wet tissues
7-8) My two mobile phones

While I tend to change bags very often, there are a few essentials I can’t leave without—my wallet, the wet tissues, the power bank (extra charger), and my two phones.
This way, my boys can reach me anytime, anywhere. Through What’s App and Viber, I can keep in touch with friends and family, even while traveling. If I need directions, I go to Google Maps. When I need to relax, I can play Candy Crush and Candy Crush Soda.
As a blogger, I really need to sit down and use a computer to update my site. But when I’m on the go, I can update my social media accounts using my #SmartLife subscriptions.
I really enjoy sharing interesting finds on Instagram via @chuvafinds, which I post in real time. I can even shop on Amazon with a click on my phone.


There’s no end to what I can do with my Smart phone.
If you’re a Smart subscriber and shopper like me, you’ll be glad to know that Smart has recently launched Charge2Phone, the country’s first sticker-based NFC contactless payment solution, exclusive to Smart and Sun Cellular postpaid subscribers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 6.43.43 PM

Simply place the C2P sticker on your mobile phone and tap it at any Visa payWave terminal to pay for your purchase. You can get C2P when you apply for a Citi Rewards Card at or any Smart and Sun Business Center.
For now, you can use your C2P sticker to pay at these merchants.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 5.51.28 PM
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 5.51.28 PM copy

For security purposes, you can use your C2P sticker for purchases below ₱2,000. But you can still use the Citi Rewards Card for transactions that are ₱2,000 and above.
For online payments, select C2P at the checkout page and enter your 11-digit Smart or Sun Postpaid mobile number, m-PIN, 3-digit card verification value or CVV (found on your sticker), and a one-time password, which you will receive in your registered mobile number.
To know more about the service, go to

Dominique Ansel Bakery opens in Tokyo

“Is the Cookie Shot really as good as it looks?” Dinna asked as I stepped into the office yesterday.
“Yes, Dinna, it is really perfect and heavenly.”

cookie shots

When I first found out Dominique Ansel was opening in Tokyo, I made a mental wish/plan to be there when it opens without knowing how.
After all, the Japanese are notoriously patient when it comes to lining up. Which I’m not. Even if I flew there, was there a chance I could get in?

And then I found out the opening date: June 20, 2015.
I still had no booking and no one to go with. Jeroen has too many trips this year, so I had to find another companion. Luckily my brother Dennis is always in Japan for business. He was booked for June 21-24, so I asked if I could come along.
And then I had to email Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York to get invited to the press day, but got no answer.
Now I know why. My friend passed away recently. There was no way I would have left Manila not certain when she would leave us. She was buried on June 19. God’s timing is perfect. I was able to rest one day before leaving for my happy place, Tokyo.

On June 20th, Dominique Ansel Bakery in Omotesando opened its doors at 8 AM, Saturday. But by 7:50 AM there were more than 250 in line.

Lining up

Dominique Ansel takes a selfie at the queue

Lining up

I arrived on June 21 and heard the line was up to the Burberry store in Omotesando (see map), and all the good stuff were sold out.
June 22nd I had lunch at Barbacoa with the Yupangco girls, Ariane and Martha, who are both studying in Tokyo.


At first I asked the Andaz concierge to book a table at Barbacoa Marunouchi. But since they were full, I asked them to book Barbacoa Aoyama (1) instead, which is near Dominique Ansel (3).

Dominique Ansel Japan

After lunch the girls and I went shopping at Flying Tiger before deciding to take a chance at the bakery.
Ariane and I went to Louis Vuitton (2) while Martha ran to line up ahead of us.
Next thing, Martha was frantically calling Ariane’s phone—at first I thought she was going to say they were sold out again. But she called to say, there was no line and they had cookie shots!!
So we ran! True enough there was no snaky line, just a few people.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

This was around 3 PM on a Tuesday

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

Plus, there was an express line for cookie shots!! (Hint: cookie shots are typically available at 3 PM)

Cookie Shot line

A look inside the store: there are very limited seats

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

Making S’mores

Making S'mores

There is a nice Filipino staff named Maria Cristina (Nina) at the store

Nina Yambao

I asked her if it was allowed to bring home cookie shots to Manila. She asked permission and informed me, no, because they are only good for two hours. How I wish I could take all of these home.

Cookie shots

We ordered anyway, three cookie shots. Martha (L) inquired if Dominique Ansel was in the store. Unfortunately he was out and leaving this Saturday.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

In no time at all, Ariane, Martha, and I were sipping vanilla milk from our cookie shots while standing in the corner.

Cookie shots

I quickly ran out of milk, so we walked all the way to the nearest Starbucks to buy cold milk.
I smelled the cookie shot all the way. It was perfect, heavenly, but very filling! The cost? Less than 500 yen.
Can’t wait to take my boys in December. Verdict: Worth flying for!
Thank you Martha and Ariane! You are my lucky charms!
To know more about Dominique Ansel Bakery in Japan, click HERE.

West Elm and PB Teen open at Estancia Mall

The first-ever West Elm and PBteen stores in the Philippines opened last June 11 at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons.
Following the success of Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids in Central Square last year, SSI Group Inc President Anthony Huang proudly announced, “We’re the only country in Southeast Asia that carries these two brands.”

West Elm at Estancia Mall

President of the SSI Group, Inc. Anton Huang (right) with Senior VP of Real Estate for William Sonoma, Arthur Tropp, Division Merchandise Manager for West Elm, Kerri Ackermann

Senior VP of Real Estate for William Sonoma, Arthur Tropp, Division Merchandise Manager for West Elm, Kerri Ackermann and  President of the SSI Group, Inc. Anton Huang

Global Visual Merchandising for PB Brands, Robert Hart

Global Visual Merchandising for PB Brands, Robert Hart

“We are pleased to partner with SSI Group in introducing the Philippines to our portfolio of brands at a time when there is consumer interest and demand in Southeast Asia,” said Arthur Tropp, Senior Vice-President for Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s Real Estate.
“We have longstanding relationships with many local Filipino artisans, so this was a natural extension for West Elm,” said Kerri Ackermann, Global Merchandise Director, West Elm. “We are proud to continue our support of their work and bring their unique handcrafted products to West Elm Philippines.”

West Elm Store in Estancia, Capitol Commons

West Elm invited local style influencers (me) Cecile Van Straten, Martine Cajucom, and DJ Tony Toni to celebrate the store’s debut and select their top picks from the new assortment.

Martine Cajucom
Martine Cajucom

Tonichi and Anju Bautista
Tonichi and Anju Bautista

PBteen also invited four inspiring stylish teens, Nichole Baranda, Natalia Ortega, Arkin Magalona, and Kiana Valenciano, to choose three of their top picks from the brand.

Natalia Ortega
Natalia Ortega

Kiana Valenciano
Kiana Valenciano

Arkin Magalona
Arkin Magalona

Saab Magalona and Cheats performed at the event


PBteen is a premiere destination for teen home furnishings, offering a pieces that add value and style to every teen’s bedroom. The new PBteen store featured the Kelly Slater collection, which uses recycled materials like pure organic cotton in honor of the surf champ’s commitment to global preservation.

PB Teen at Estancia Mall
PBteen Store in Estancia, Capitol Commons

In the Philippines, West Elm, PBteen, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids are exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc., a member of SSI Group, Inc., with stores at Estancia, Capitol Commons.
Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids are located at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street.
To know more about West Elm at Estancia Mall, click HERE.

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